vodka

Ghoul Drink Drunk

Ghoul Drink Drunk is a regular column that features your host, an adult male zombie who prefers bourbon and beer, exploring the sugary, sweet world of “ghoul-y drinks” for your edification and entertainment. He promises not to barf on you or eat your brains. Enjoy.

When I was a kid, my list of Top 5 Favorite Holidays looked like this:

1) Christmas – Obviously. TOYS. As an only child with typically indulgent grandparents, Christmases at my house made the gift suite at an Oscars after-party look like a miserly old maid begrudgingly sharing her Tic-Tacs. I was spoiled rotten (and am somewhat of a broken person now because of it, but THAT’S not what we’re here to talk about) and I loved every minute of it.

2) Thanksgiving – Feeling like a grown-ass adult, watching football with my uncles, furtively stealing sips of their Coors Light when they went to empty their dip cups. AND THE FOOD. Holy shit. For a fatty-in-training, Thanksgiving was like the Food Olympics. “Well, Bob Costas, I’ve trained all year for this and, yes, I think I’ll probably be able to eat so much green bean casserole that my mother has to take me aside and explain to me the concept of sharing AGAIN, and also remind me that this how rumors about thyroid problems get started. USA USA USA!!!”

3) 4th of July The sky is exploding! THE SKY IS EXPLODING!!!! Why yes, I WILL have another hot dog.

4) Valentine’s Day – Everyone I know wants to give me a card that quantifies the love they feel for me, and ALSO there are chocolates for me to jam into my maw? Everything about this day is tinted with magic in various shades of red and pink.

5) Halloween – GIVE ME CANDY, I’M DRESSED LIKE A GO-BOT.

Ah… youth.

Back in August, I turned 34 years old. This makes me adult as fuck. And, as someone who is adult as fuck, I have finally figured out a few things that I believe to be absolutely true. Things such as:

-Eating a fiber-rich diet will greatly improve your day-to-day existence for various poop-related reasons.

-It is satisfying to pay bills in a timely manner, and parenthetically, it is also pretty cool to not have the electric company shut your power off all the time.

-Holidays, as an adult, thoroughly blow.

Now.. granted… my wife and I do not have children. As I understand it, getting to experience the holidays through your own child’s eyes is a magical thing, like seeing a Leprechaun make out with a Sasquatch. Wouldn’t know. Don’t care to find out, actually, as kids are little punks that suck out your life force and replace it with crippling debt, things they’ve shit on, and also sometimes they become serial killers. That’s just a fact.

At any rate, holidays now are terrible. They’re expensive, they require being places at certain times… usually looking nice, which is in and of itself a whole thing (“which one of these Big Johnson t-shirts would you say is the CLEANEST?)… and they tend to highlight everything that’s not going right in your life at that very moment. Also, does anyone still celebrate the 4th of July anymore? I literally cannot remember the last time I did anything for that holiday. I think I’m usually at work, assuming all the ruckus outside is the citizenry of Dallas exercising their right to bear arms.

ANYWAY, all of this is roundabout way of saying that, while MOST holidays suck gravy, there is one exception… one holiday still holding steady on my list… and that exception is, emphatically, HALLOWEEN. Halloween just fucking rules so hard, it’s spooOOooOOooky.

There are horror movies on all the time, people go fucking nuts with giving out candy, if you’re lucky you’ll hear “Thriller” on the radio… the WHOLE song, with the awesome Vincent Price rap and everything… and, just generally, it’s the one time of year where the entire country embraces the creepy, the weird, and the scary. I fucking love it… I do. Which is mostly fine. There is ONE kind of iffy side effect, and that is the fact that I cannot be in a Target or a Wal-Mart unsupervised. If that happens, I end up buying totally unnecessary, though, yes, TOTALLY BAD ASS, garbage like this:

The Ghoul Drink:

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Hahaha, motherfucking Ghoul-Aid???  SCARY BLACKBERRY??? If that isn’t a fucking graveyard smash, I don’t know what is. GOD DAMN, do I love this holiday! And since I’ve got like an entire box of this stuff in my fridge now, I figured it would probably be in everyone’s best interest for me to mix it with alcohol and then write about it on the internet. Everybody on board? Yes? Wolfman? Dracula and his son? Good! Let’s get to it.

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Oh, so first though… I drank one of these by itself, so I could fully understand it as an ingredient and, thus, better incorporate it into my mixology. Also, it’s fun to drink things out of Mylar pouches. Feels like right after tee-ball practice. Anyway, the Scary Blackberry Ghoul-Aid (fuck, that’s just so wonderful) was pretty damn good! Tart, like an actual blackberry, yet still retaining that fake-juice flavor that Kool-Aid long ago locked down tight. Gotta say, kids drinks have definitely improved since my day. They taste richer now. More fruity, and less “frooty.” Just superior in every way.

Obligatory Nostalgic Counterpoint: YEAH, BUT THEY’RE SURE NO ECTO-COOLER. Those sumbitches had Slimer on them.

Moving on…

The Official Ghoul-Aid Scary Blackberry Cocktail Guide

As you probably gathered from the picture above, I mixed the Ghoul-Aids with three different liquors: Some Deep Eddy Vodka, which I let get all frosty cold in the freezer, some Sauza Tequila, because the evening might as well end with me calling a bouncer a pantywaist (…aren’t you drinking these at home…), and Loopy Vodka, which you may remember from a previous post. Believe it or not, we’ve still got some of that left over.

OH, and I feel like it’s important I mention that all the cocktails were mixed with the aid of this incredibly spooktacular shot glass:

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BECAUSE HALLOWEEN, BITCHES. Hard in the paint.

To the drinks!

Ghoul-Aid Scary Blackberry with Vodka

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Yes, it’s a pretty unappealing color… kind of like a deep bruise with hints of toxic waste… but that’s just what beverages are going to look like when you’re dealing with BOO JUICE. Also, please note that this cocktail is being hand-modeled by my wife, who is sporting a seasonally appropriate blood-splatter manicure. You are correct: my wife is awesome.

The cocktail tasted… you know… fine. Mostly it just tasted really cold. The vodka kind of thinned out the tartness of the blackberry, which left behind a bland sweetness that wasn’t by any means undrinkable… it just wasn’t terribly exciting. There is the possibility that I muffed up the vodka-to-Ghoul-Aid ratio; I went closer to half-and-half, where I think the whole thing would have benefited from a one part vodka, four parts Ghoul Aid recipe. Still though, what seemed like a really bold, vibrant flavor when sucked from a pouch via an adorable, yellow straw, really weakened and buckled when paired with a spirit. I USED THE WORD SPIRIT THERE BECAUSE SPIRIT MEANS GHOSTS.

Ahem…

Ghoul-Aid Scary Blackberry and Tequila

So… all the cocktails looked the same. Remember the picture from a few paragraphs ago? This one was exactly that, visually-speaking. Scroll up if you need a refresher.

Whereas the vodka in the previous cocktail neutralized the Scary Blackberry flavor, the tequila in THIS cocktail simply overwhelmed it. Using the same (admittedly kind of stout) ratio as before, all I could taste was the Sauza, with maybe a faint note of sugar on the back end. Essentially it was like drinking purple tequila, which I’m surprised is a thing that doesn’t already exist. The kids these days… they like the bright colors. For their… raves…? Is that still a thing…? Probably. Probably still is. HAHA, I ain’t old!

Ghoul-Aid Scary Blackberry and Loopy Vodka

I assume you’ve heard the phrase “unholy matrimony” before? The dude that thought that up was thinking about this cocktail when he had his “a-ha!” moment. While the Ghoul-Aid is tasty on its own, and the Loopy Vodka by itself is… well, not tasty exactly, but a fair representation of the weird-flavored vodka trend… when they’re mixed together, they are like the sugar sludge pouring forth from whatever freshly-killed monster up until very recently stalked Candyland’s Candy Cane Forest.

So SWEET. So sticky on the lips. And god, the Ghoul-Aid really brings out the Lemon Pledge notes that were previously examined in the Loopy Vodka. The whole thing was a car crash in a glass, and if you ever end up drinking Ghoul-Aid Scary Blackberry and Loopy Vodka mixed together, it’s because you are being tricked, not treated.

Drink the other two cocktails. They’re fine. Don’t drink this one. DON’T. That way madness lies.

Conclusion:

While most holidays are busy dry-humping your wallet and messing with your schedule, Halloween exists only to facilitate your having of fun times. PROOF: products like Ghoul-Aid Scary Blackberry exist, and are awesome. And you can mix them with booze! It’s not the most successful venture in the world, but it WILL get you drunk.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN, YOU DEMONS!!!

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Girl Drink Drunk

Girl Drink Drunk is a regular column that features your host, an adult male who prefers bourbon and beer, exploring the sugary, sweet world of “girly drinks” for your edification and entertainment. He promises not to barf on you. Enjoy.

Marketing to people in their early 20’s has got to be just the worst job. I mean… no, it’s not cleaning up a parking lot after a country music concert (SO MANY EXPLODED DIP CUPS) or working 50 hours a week in a telephone call center (you can only get hung up on so many times before all the rejection makes your soul implode like a decommissioned sports stadium), but still. Having to design advertisements that specifically attract men and women in their early 20’s is awful, because you’re trying to market to a group of people who don’t even know who the hell they ARE. Think back to your early 20’s… what kind of person were you? What were you into? What did you stand for and/or believe in?

If you were anything like me, the answers to those questions are, respectively,  “an awful person,” “whatever, man,” and, “my right to party.” HOW DO YOU MARKET TO THAT??? Early 20’s men and women are emotionally malformed, half-humans who are still trying to figure out how you do adulthood. Everything is exciting! Everything is terrifying! Everything is the best it can possibly be, and the worst it has ever been, all at the same time. Trying to figure out what those people want, and how to make them buy it, is akin to killing the Rancor in Return of the Jedi; sure it CAN be done, but you basically have to be a Jedi to do it.

(For the non-nerds reading this, the above translates to: “Doing something impossible, but only because you’re a person who is literally magic”)

So when you market to people in their early 20’s, you basically have to take the scatter-shot approach. Spray the bullets in a wide enough pattern, and surely you’ll hit SOMETHING that draws blood. And so what you end up with is stuff like… say, an AXE body spray commercial that star an anthropomorphic armpit. Or endless ads that feature a DJ as a lazy shorthand for THIS IS WHAT’ COOL LOOKS LIKE. Or, if you’re Kinky Liqueur… the subject of today’s Girl Drink Drunk… you cram a whole bunch of Sex and the City-style sexual innuendo into a bazooka, then fire that fucker at a laptop fully loaded with Photoshop capabilities. What you get is this:

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Flirty, lingerie lady with bottles of booze in her hair? SURE LET’S GO WITH THAT. This will make the young ladies want to drink our cartoon beverages, surely! This girl is what ALL girls aspire to be!!! Look at her! She’s having SO MUCH FUN!!! Just livin’ life, putting liquor bottles in her hair, for some reason. Probably SUPER FUN reasons! CAN I MIX YOU UP A KINKY-TINI???

Anyway, what Alcoholic Medusa up there is trying to sell you is this:

The Girl Drink(s)

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Kinky Liqueur and Kinky Blue… booze that looks like liquified Snorks, shown here with a quarter for scale. I really don’t want anyone to think I actually bought whole bottles of this stuff. This is what they purport to be:

Kinky Liqueur (the pink one): It’s a little bit of vodka… distilled 5 times, the copy says, because THAT fucking matters after you dump an entire sand dune of sugar into it… as well as a lot of flavoring, dye, chips from a hunk of radioactive uranium, ground-up members of the Tinkerbell family, and, of course, pure, uncut, CLASSINESS. This one supposedly tastes like, again… deferring to the copy… “succulent mango” (as opposed to shitty mango), “blood orange liqueur,” and “passion fruit.”

Kinky Blue (the blue one): Same thing with the vodka… they are VERY proud of their distillation process, which is a bit rich, seeing as how their product tastes about as filtered and distilled as a piece of Laffy Taffy, but WHATEVER. This one is going for a “tropical and wild berry flavor,” because… I don’t know… that’s what blue flavored stuff tastes like now? Back in my day, blue meant razzberry (not raspberry; spelling is key) and that’s how we liked it!

Anyway…

Taste Test – Straight Up

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It became pretty clear, after doing shots of Kinky Liqueur and Kinky Blue that I was really not supposed to do that. These are mixers… drinking these straight is like throwing your french fries in the trash and just squirting ketchup in your mouth. However, doing shots of Kinkys Liqueur and Blue DID give my tongue an up-close, TMI look at what, exactly, they taste like. Surprisingly, I only hated one of them! Kinky Liqueur (the pink one) is sweet… god, so sweet… a Capri-Sun times a million… and it packs a wallop of synthetic fruitiness that is unmatched by even the most engorged Gusher… but it kind of didn’t taste all that bad. Maybe it’s the subtle tartness from the blood orange liqueur that makes it a little more palatable… maybe it’s the fact that the predominant flavor is passion fruit, which I happen to tenderly love (TASTES LIKE HAWAII, BABY). Whatever the case, Kinky Liqueur wasn’t the worst.

Kinky blue, however, WAS the worst. They had a good thing going with the Kinky Liqueur, and they got greedy. “LET’S MAKE ANOTHER ONE! The kids like blue… I’ve seen ’em wearing jeans!!! OUR NEW PRODUCT IS KINKY BLUE!!! PASS ME THAT STILETTO FULL OF COCAINE.” Despite what the copy would have you believe, this junk tastes nothing like anything remotely tropical, or any sort of berry that grows in the wild. It tastes EXACTLY like grape Bubblelicious. To the point where I feel like there’s some kind of weird, corporate synergy going on here. Bubblelicious is the shadow hand behind Kinky Blue! YOU HAVE TO READ BETWEEN THE LINES, YOU SHEEP. YouTube conspiracy theory video forthcoming!

Oh, and acid reflux. Kinky Blue also has subtle notes of acid reflux on the back end. I get why they don’t mention that, though. The word “vurp” rarely appears in packaging copy.

Taste Test – Mixed

I also thought it would be fun (using the loosest, most free-form definition of the word) to try the two Kinkys mixed together, but otherwise straight-up. I was wrong, of course… as I always am about these kind of things… but learning from your mistakes is for DORKS.

First off, it came out the same color as the bruise you get after taking a softball to the thigh:

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I’ve put a lot of unpleasant-looking liquids in my mouth (which probably explains why MY early-20’s remain kind of a messy swirl of colors and lights), but this has got to be a Top Ten finalist. Anyway, the Kinky Mix tasted like total sensory overload. Imagine watching a Japanese anime on Adderall that you washed down with a tumbler of 5hr Energy Shots. That’s as close as I can get to pinning down the flavor.

Mostly, it just tasted like bad choices.

Taste Test – W/ Soda Water

I was too strung-out on the Kinky Mix to remember that I was supposed to be photographing everything, so you’re just going to have to trust me on this one. Imagine slightly less pink and slightly less blue liquids in larger glasses with some ice. You’ve got the idea.

These were a little better. Not so much a head-on collision of flavor; more like minor fender-benders. The fizziness helped cut through the sugar, and the neutral mixer made them not taste like you’re drinking cotton candy barf. They did, however, taste pretty watered down (SHOCKING)… kind of like how Vitamin Water ALMOST tastes like something fruity, but not quite.

Pretty uninspiring, frankly.

Taste Test – W/ Clique Vodka

Clique Vodka is thing I bought for a future installment of Girl Drink Drunk, mainly because it looks like this:

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I feel like if you replaced the word “vodka” with the word “eyeliner,” you could use the exact same packaging for make-up. Smaller bottle, of course. Anyway, I bought it because it looked SO CHICK-LIKE, but then I tried it and… well, it just tastes like vodka. Not very exciting.

However… seeing as how one of the (many) suggested uses for the Kinky brand is the aforementioned “Kinky-tini,” which is a word (?) that makes may teeth itch when I say it out loud… I figured we could just fold the Clique vodka into the mix here.

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The Clique vodka… or ANY vodka, I’m sure… is the code-breaker. THIS is how the Kinky line of beverages is meant to be consumed. The vodka mellows out the harsh acidity of the Kinky beverages; it makes them smoother, and more drinkable. Despite looking like a set dresser’s idea of a “futuristic cocktail” from the kind of cheap-o, sci-fi schlock you used to see on USA’s Up All Night, the Kinky-tinis (ugh, I’m dizzy now) aren’t total garbage. The pink one, anyway. The blue one still tastes like grape Bubblelicious, but without that swallowing-lit-matches reflux taste. Honestly, the Blue Kinky-tini (ouch, my pancreas!) tastes like what a 10 year old would drink after a hard day of playing Freeze Tag and kicking ass on the monkey bars. The pink [brand name martini]… sorry, can’t say it again, I’m starting to go numb below the waist… with the inclusion of the vodka, just tastes kind of mildly fruity and, well, girly. A good starting point, adult beverage-wise, if that’s the kind of life you want to lead.

And if you DO want to lead that kind of life… that VERY SPECIFIC kind of mid-20’s lady life… I guess you could do a lot worse than the Kinky line of products. They’re better than, say, Smirnoff Ices, because at least they’ve got a little punch to them, and they’re not as of yet directly linked to the assorted frat parties and bro-downs that happen at that stage of the game. But… and this is just a little free advice, from someone who’s already walked down that weird, scary road… don’t let the branding of products define who you are. Don’t aspire to be a lady with liquor bottles in her hair, or an anthropomorphic armpit (or whatever those images represent in the real world). Your early-20’s are ridiculous enough on their own.

Girl Drink Drunk

Girl Drink Drunk is a regular column that features your host, an adult male who prefers bourbon and beer, exploring the sugary, sweet world of “girly drinks” for your edification and entertainment. He promises not to barf on you. Enjoy.

Remember when, as a kid, you’d eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and feel like you had the whole world figured out? This WORKS, you’d think, your mouth sticky, and then you’d rip the day a new asshole playing freeze tag like a fucking beast. Or, maybe on a quiet Saturday morning, you’d sit watching your favorite cartoon with a gigantic bowl of Froot Loops… just the PERFECT amount of milk… the sugary taste and brightly colored O’s matching exactly the animated zaniness on the screen in front of you. “I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT IT’S LIKE TO HAVE A PROBLEM,” you thought-screamed into the universe.

The adventures of fucking He-Man, and cereal… goddamn PB&J, and stiff-arming your friends in a field during recess… two magical experiences that perfectly encapsulate that magical “little kid” time. Of course, you eventually grew up. You learned about debt, and liquor, and heartbreak. Soon… too soon… you discovered that death exists, that people will hurt you and not even care, that there are those in the world that will smile through their lies while your soul shrivels inside you like a deflating Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade float. If only there was a way to recapture those lost moments of pure, innocent joy… to re-experience that simple bliss… but, you know, to do so in a fashion that will ALSO got you super wasted…

The Girl Drink(s):

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Enter Van Gogh and Three Olives… two liquor brands that are attempting to mixologize your childhood memories with vodka. These came from my wife’s own personal stock of girly drinks, and they are both a little bit terrifying. I think it’s important to note that the lid on the Loopy Vodka… called that, by the way, for copyright infringement reasons, and for what it makes your stomach feel like immediately after drinking it… was practically cemented onto the bottle due to all the sugar. That should give you an idea of what I’m in for here.

Another note… the “jelly” in the PB&J is raspberry, as opposed to the traditional grape. I think this is blasphemous and grounds for, at minimum, a bazooka-ing of their manufacturing plant. My wife, however, says that grape jelly is “a third-tier jelly” and that I am wrong. So we’ll agree to disagree on this one.

Straight Up:

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To really get a sense of what these two nostalgia boozes were all about, I took shots of each of them straight. This was a terrible idea. DO NOT DRINK THESE STRAIGHT. I did that for you, as I am awesome and care about your happiness in life.

If you were to murder a Care Bear and drink its blood in some sort of horrifying, full-moon, pagan ritual, it would taste exactly like Loopy Vodka. Sweet… oh merciful, cruel Jesus… just so very sweet. If you can power through the sugar high that is ripping through your veins, you’ll notice a taste that is… sort of… kind of… in the ballpark of… Froot Loops. There’s almost a wheat-y taste, like the cereal itself, and there’s DEFINITELY a frooty (not “fruity”) taste as well. It’s the most fake flavor you’ve ever let slide down your throat. It makes Bubble Yum taste like organic fruit grown by a vegan cult. Oddly enough, the most offensive part of a Loopy Vodka shot is the smell: It smells unmistakably like Lemon-scented Pledge. Highly toxic cleaning products… mmmmm… WHO’S READY TO PARTY???

The PB&J vodka is much more palatable. The smell, for one thing, doesn’t make you rethink your nose and how it’s really not THAT necessary, right [tests kitchen knife for sharpness by slicing a sheet of paper in half]? In fact, the PB&J vodka smells… good! Really good, actually. Warm and peanut buttery, like the neck of a Keebler Elf as you give him a long, meaningful hug. It tastes pretty not-disgusting, as well, especially when compared to the Loopy vodka. The fine folks at Van Gogh have dialed down the sweetness quite a bit for this particular flavor. Consequently, it has less of that drinking-a-bag-of-powdered-sugar-dissolved-in-rubbing-alcohol aftertaste, letting the Peanut Butter and the Jelly really shine through. (the synthetic, super fake tastes that somewhat resemble those two actual things, but you know what I mean)

Loopy vodka with Milk:

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This is an actual paring suggested by the Three Olives website.  They actually want you to pour liquor into milk and drink it and then walk around for the rest of your life like that was an okay thing to have done. “Drink this, then try to justify your actions to your God,” they seem to be suggesting. And so, okay… I’ll take that challenge, you fucking website. I AIN’T NEVER SCARED.

[makes the sign of the cross, sheds a wistful tear for America, drinks the drink]

…I’ll be damned.

It’s kind of… well, delicious might be a stretch, but it doesn’t suck. In fact, it tastes like the milk that’s left over after you’ve eaten your fill of Froot Loops. Like, it tastes EXACTLY like that, with just a hint of an alcohol burn on the back end.

The fact that this didn’t make me do a comical spit-take, then hop around like an angry prospector, completely baffles me. My world is torn asunder. All that I knew is now unknown. Fucking weirdballs.

PB&J vodka with Coke:

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Eh.

This is what my wife suggested for the PB&J vodka, as it is how SHE drinks it, and… eh.

I mean… it wasn’t like drinking that liquid that collects in the bottom of a garbage bag or anything. It was FINE. But it was also just kind of nondescript. Actually, one kind of unusual thing: Drinking it, I could taste the Coke and the PB&J vodka TOTALLY SEPARATE from one another. Like, they didn’t mix. There was no mixing. It was one, and then the other, in the same swallow of liquid. Very efficient, I guess, if you prefer the “shot and a chaser” method of boozing, but confusing if you’re looking for an actual cocktail-style cocktail.

I blame science, or possibly the Devil. That guy’s always up to no good.

Closing Time:

So was there any of that childhood magic to be found in either of these two girly drinks? Maybe a little… the Loopy vodka in particular, when mixed with (of all things) MILK, really does bring back that feeling of slurping down slightly-pink cereal run-off while GI Joe kicks Cobra in the nads at maximum volume, 18 inches from your face.

So propers to Three Olives for that, despite their vodka being more sugary than Gummi Worm barf. And a proper or two to Van Gogh, who’s PB&J vodka isn’t as sweet as you’d expect, and therefore doesn’t taste like you’re asphyxiating on Willy Wonka’s underwear. I trust that both of those sentences will be showing up in the copy of their respective advertisements within the week.

Three Olives Loopy VodkaC+

Van Gogh PB&J Vodka B-